4 Important Takeaways from Major Events in 2021

Casey Fenton


December 13, 2023

To say that the past year was a difficult one might be a big understatement. Volatile markets, record-high inflation, and a seemingly never-ending pandemic.  Plus all the unclear government policies and regulations on these matters. The good news is that we were able to overcome it. Sure, most of us took a fall and suffered some scratches and setbacks. But despite all of that, we are still here. We continue to live through this challenging era and are becoming better at adapting to whatever it throws at us over the years.

This is what’s great about humans. We are organisms of knowledge capable of learning from the past. As we move further into 2022, we would like to take a step back and devote a brief moment to discuss our biggest takeaways and strategies that emerged from major events that defined 2021.

1. Recruitment and retention strategies need to be revisited

It’s still ongoing but 2021 was the defining year of the Great Resignation. What we now know is that worker dissatisfaction played a significant role in it. Job vacancies increased as a result leading to companies fighting over available talent. As “buyers” of labor, businesses are at the losing end of this seller’s market where the cost of salaries and wages have become much higher.

Moreover, high compensation may not be the panacea to these recruitment and retention woes. Not only is it not feasible for most companies but there is also the consideration regarding its effectiveness of being a long-term solution. We believe that effective compensation need not necessarily be a high salary so long as it is meaningful. If it is something that fosters alignment and loyalty to the company or project, it is meaningful compensation. A good example of this is equity compensation.

2. Remote work and global teams are here to stay

Necessity started the shift towards remote work. But even if we enter a post-pandemic scenario, there are still expectations that strong demand for flexibility among workers and employees will remain. Thus, remote and hybrid setups will become a more common aspect of the employment world. Tech and other industries reliant on knowledge workers will probably be the fastest to adopt this as the norm as one Harvard Business Review article predicts.

Moreover, labor shortages caused by the Great Resignation will most likely lead companies to search for talent elsewhere. Anthony Klotz, the professor who “predicted” the phenomenon, thinks that this will cause employers to venture into international labor markets where the rates might be cheaper and the workers are more available. Coupled by improvements in remote-first technologies and solutions, this should lead to global teams also becoming more common.

3. More decentralization: crypto, NFTs, and Web3

Bitcoin began this revolutionary trend and it has not lost steam since then. Last year we saw non-fungible tokens (NFTs) start out as a fad only to quickly develop into a full-blown mania with some sales breaching the million-dollar mark. A recent report estimates that the NFT market has surpassed $40 billion in 2021. Now, there have been talks of a decentralized internet with “Web3.”

Laws and regulations on these matters, however, have failed to catch up resulting in a lot of unpredictability and doubt. Participants and stakeholders in this space would need to be able to keep pace with legal and regulatory developments to achieve the two-fold purpose of avoiding risks and staying ahead of the competition.

4. The need for resilience in an era of uncertainty

As Omicron continues to ravage the world and the number of cases keeps on breaking previous records, is this an omen of the worst to come? Or will this mark the start of the post-pandemic period as the virus becomes something we can live with? Will decentralization truly be the future? Or is this a trend that will die out in the next few years? Maybe a hybrid of decentralized infrastructure with centralized access hubs become the new norm.

What is perhaps a good answer to these questions (or an attempt at one) is that, well, no one knows. The only certainty is uncertainty. It’s not an original thought, but the phrase somewhat neatly sums up the situation we are currently in.

Because of this, businesses and companies will have to create plans and systems that are more resilient to instability and change. Everyone in general, too, will have to be more flexible and adaptive. Those who are able to develop resilience and innovate will be most likely to thrive and succeed this year.

Tools to help you navigate the uncertainties of 2022

The global pandemic and the Great Resignation have underscored the need for remote-first solutions and new recruitment and retention strategies. This is where tools like Upstock can help by providing meaningful compensation to workers and employees in the form of restricted stock units (RSUs). It’s a solution built with remote and global teams in mind with features like remote contract signing with legal effectiveness and validity in 70+ countries.

For the crypto world, we are staying on top of all the regulatory developments in the field of employee compensation with our most recent offering, Uptoken, which enables blockchain and crypto companies to offer delayed token compensation to workers and employees while minimizing common legal risks.

Indeed, we have learned a lot of things in 2021 and we are excited to share them with you this year. Here is to hoping for a much better 2022 for all of us!

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Casey Fenton

Founder, Upstock & Couchsurfing, AI and Equity Innovator

Casey Fenton, the founder of Upstock & Couchsurfing and an AI and equity innovator, has revolutionized how we perceive and implement equity in the workplace. His foresight in creating platforms that not only connect people but also align their interests towards communal and corporate prosperity has established him as a pivotal figure in technology and community building. Casey speaks worldwide on topics including ownership mindset, worker equity, With Upstock and Couchsurfing, he has demonstrated an unparalleled expertise in harnessing technology for the betterment of community interaction and organizational benefits.

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